NIKE'S BEST KEPT SECRET


Chances are you've you got the Nike Training Club app and you might even have given some of the workouts a shot, but did you know they do classes too? The best part is, they're totally FREE!

I tell all my friends about it (because it's always more fun - and motivating - working out with friends) and they're always surprised to hear about it. I go every Sunday, and every new person who joins says 'I just can't believe it's free!'

Each session comprises of an hour of hardcore bootcamp-style drills, with plenty of warm-ups, stretches and even some sprints (depending on the trainer). I've been going for nearly two years now and I am so much stronger and fitter than I ever could have imagined - I'm even doing full push-ups! But the classes don't get any easier, you just start pushing yourself even harder.

If you live in London, there are classes everywhere from Shepherd's Bush (actually in the middle of the Westfield shopping centre - totally mortifying...I've been) and Clapham Common to Victoria Park in East London. There are even a couple across the UK, like Glasgow. With multiple classes during the week, you might even find you can replace your usual gym membership for some free sessions and a couple of solo workouts with the app to fill in the gaps.

Find out if there's a class near you and sign up on the Facebook group.

I NEED YOUR HELP! aka how to get up in the morning



I am most definitely not a morning person by any stretch of the word, but these past few days I have really struggled to get out of bed! As summer winds down into autumn, it's now darker in the early hours when my alarm goes off and my boyfriend's early morning starts aren't helping either!

Here's the lowdown: my alarm rings at 6:45, I snooze it twice and then I scroll through instagram to wake myself up. This is the only way I can ease myself into the morning, but I'm pretty sure it's contributing to those sluggish 11am slumps at my desk. This isn't helped by the fact that my boyfriend's alarm goes off at 6am, and unlike he who can not only spring straight out of bed, but somehow also fall asleep in 5 seconds flat, I lay awake getting gradually more and more annoyed at his fumbling in the dark, before forcing myself back to sleep at what is probably 6:35. Not productive, hey?

The solution: I want to know what you do! Are you an alarm snoozer, do you have a way to ease into the morning without mindlessly scrolling through your phone? The main issue for me is that I leave the house at 7:30, but I really only need 15/20 minutes to get ready and I eat my breakfast once I get to work or else I'm ravenous by 9:30, so I would just kind of be hanging around if I got up any earlier. Over the next couple of weeks I'm planning to try out a few different methods - 1 snooze, no phone reading, get up and make breakfast; no snoozes, get up and go for a run; no snooze, a bit of light phone reading and a 10 minute yoga video. Getting complicated yet?

I'd love to know what works for you so leave me a comment below!

A SIMPLE SUNDAY SNACK


Yesterday was one of those Sundays where you just want to lie on the sofa and do not much else. I managed to motivate myself to go to an exercise class, leaving me absolutely ravenous for the rest of the day. This gorgeous end-of-season sweetcorn made the perfect snack, rubbed with a little butter and sprinkled with a generous helping of chilli flakes and a pinch of salt (Maldon's smoked sea salt is a revelation!). Sweetcorn season is over mid-September so I suggest you buy yourself a couple of cobs this week and get down to business!

A PHOTO FOR FRIDAY | 11

This week just flew by! It's about a month until my big holiday (Malaysia! Indonesia! I can't wait!) and time seems to be whizzing by in a blur - I couldn't even tell you what I did this week. But scrolling through my album I decided to post this picture I took in my morning commute

There have been some amazing sunrises this week and this one, with the sun coming up and the moon not quite ready to take his leave yet, is a perfect reminder that all days come to an end, even if it's been the worst day ever, and tomorrow you can start over.

This weekend I'm going to the seaside to see my boyfriend's parents (fingers crossed for a Friday fish and chips) and then on Sunday I'm saying goodbye to my friend who's going back to Japan (don't go Mariko!). Have a good one!

3 STEPS TO UPDATE AN OLD SOFA

Is there anything sweeter than reading the words 'IKEA klippan sofa free' on Gumtree and finding out that the sofa in question is available to pick up tonight, one road away from you? I think not. The IKEA Klippan is a total classic - there's been one in every student house I've lived in, but my parents have one too and its simple lines blend in perfectly next to their designer pieces. You can't fault the price either! We thought we should buy a second sofa and I had my eye on some lovely vintage-style ones, but we weren't even sure a second sofa would fit in our living room, let alone look good, so we decided to get this one as a placeholder.



The cover was a little misshapen and there were a couple of stains, but I think the reason this sofa is so popular is because it just stands up to everyday life. It has a very sturdy frame and the cushioning keeps its shape - even after my boyfriend and I hauled it up six flights of stairs (this, obviously).

But, in three easy steps, our little sofa looks good as new, and I think we're actually pretty happy to keep it as is!

CLEAN If your sofa has a removable cover, pop it in the washing machine and run it for two cycles to really give it a good clean. If you have a white cover, use a little bit of bleach to get rid of tough stains. Let it air dry outside if you can - the sun actually bleaches stains too! When they are dry, put the covers back on and, if there are any lingering smells, try a few spritzes of febreze. Our sofa smelled perfectly nice, of washing detergent and general homeliness, but it was weird how much the smell of someone else's home affected the smell of ours!


COVER A replacement sofa cover for the Klippan is only £35, but you might have a sofa without an interchangeable cover or not have access to an IKEA. I used one of my favourite blankets as a throw, tucking it into the crease between the seat and the back to secure it. A few cushions will perk it up a bit and can be easily changed along with the seasons. If your cover still has a couple of visible stains, you can buy great dyes that go in the washing machine with your covers and offer really pigmented, even coverage (we used Dylon on our other sofa).


DISTRACT As a finishing touch, don't forget to style around your sofa! I never noticed how bare that wall was until we put the sofa there and I was forced to look at it. The side table came from my parents' attic, and the two prints are actually sheets of high quality wrapping paper, a tip I shared in this post about affordable art. I also thought about painting the little silver feet (inspired by this site), but I think I'll save that for another day.

In the end, I didn't have to buy anything at all for our new sofa, meaning an instant living room upgrade for £0!

AUTUMN STYLE WISH LIST

Summer is on its way out - total bummer - but I have to say that the idea of getting out my knits again  kind of dulls the pain. I like to ease into autumn by layering jumpers with skirts and eking out the bare legs for just a little bit longer, but then I realised that that would make this blog post basically the same as the one I posted back in spring. Here are a couple of things on my wish list right now:

I'm definitely not ready to get my winter coat out and I always think - what do have left to wear when it gets properly cold if you do that! A big blanket scarf is perfect for bridging the gap between knitwear and outerwear, plus it's a slightly less scary way of dipping into Burberry's blanket cape trend! It looks perfectly nonchalant with a casual weekend look, but is somehow chic and pulled together with tailored pieces too. {1,2)

Turtlenecks are such a classic piece (think Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn), but wearing them with jeans is instantly modern and cool, yet still chic. I'll be wearing chunky knits with skinny jeans and lightweight sweaters with my boyfriend jeans - I might even try it with a pencil skirt. What do you think? {1,2,3,4}


A leather jacket is on my wish list every year - they go with absolutely everything and never go out of style, but I just haven't found the right one yet. I get a pretty hefty discount on lots of designer brands through my work, so it might be time to invest in a great quality one, though I have seen some really good faux versions at H&M and River Island, where I can always rely on a good fit for my body shape. {1,2}

A PHOTO FOR FRIDAY | 10

A single photo and a story from my week:


I had the best time last weekend! My friend Mariko’s return from Japan for the month coincided with another friend from uni, Sophie, visiting for the weekend. I went to a very international university with a big emphasis on languages, which inevitably meant that as soon we graduated, most of my friends upped sticks across the globe. It’s really rare that we’re back together, so by gosh we made the most of it!
Sophie arrived late Friday night so it was quite quickly to bed, rising nice and early for boiled eggs and soldiers.

Sophie used to live with us, so I felt an extra pang of nostalgia for our lazy weekend mornings. We decided to check out the Southbank’s Festival of Love and I’m SO glad we did – it was the last weekend and it went out with a bang with over 200 couples getting married at Royal Festival Hall! There was such a lovely celebratory vibe with a live band and people swing dancing out on the terrace, the usual street performers and a handful of foodie stops too – we indulged in Bob’s Lobsters, Wahaca and a quick trip on the hot pink, double decker Snog bus (all delicious!). Maybe you saw my instagrams?

In the evening we headed to Brixton Market for drinks at ChickenLiquor (try the Paloma – I’m hooked) and of course ended up getting a big tray of chicken wings – the Chicken Shop and Korean ones were especially top notch, and such a uni throwback. I wish my favourite girls were in town all the time!

I thought I was in for some downtime this weekend, but I’m going out dancing tonight – it’s been too long! I’ll be taking part in Michelle’s #1day12pics challenge this month, so you’ll have to wait for my post to see what I get up to on Saturday. Toodle pip!
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